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BARMM health minister, 3 employees recover from Covid-19

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) — Three (3) out of the 38 employees of Bangsamoro Government’s Office of the Chief Minister (OCM-BARMM) who were tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have recovered. Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) spokesperson Mohd Asnin Pendatun said Wednesday, September 16, via virtual press briefer, that the remaining 35 COVID-positive employees are currently in stable condition, and are undergoing strict quarantine in an isolation center in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. He also said that the Bangsamoro Government ensured families of affected employees were assisted. Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan also recovered from Covid-19. In his official statement, Dipatuan said that he and his wife have been in the hospital for the past two weeks for isolation and treatment after testing positive for Covid-19. “We have already surpassed that challenge and are now fully recovered.” The said development is also due to the fast response of the Bangsamoro Government since news broke about an employee who tested positive for Covid-19 late August. This includes massive RT-PCR testing for its employees on September 3-4, 2020, as well as two-week disinfection inside the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. With this, the OCM has resumed its operation and transactions with work shifting schedules for its employees. However, visitors are reminded to strictly follow public health standards, or they will be denied entry. “We advise our constituents to stay at home, unless it’s for essential or important matters,” Pendatun stated. “The OCM is asking our visitors to secure an appointment for their transactions. Since most of the visits are related to the AMBAG Program, we will answer transactions via online and phone,” he added. According to Pendatun, the first case in the OCM is not conclusively the reason for the sudden rise in the number of the affected employees for the reason that said the patient had no recent travel history nor any visit to a place with known local transmission. “We cannot conclusively trace that the first case was the reason why other OCM employees tested positive for Covid-19. However, we should always look at the health and recovery of our employees and our fast response through our containment strategy,” Pendatun noted. Furthermore, Pendatun noted that 53% of the total cases in the BARMM are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), while the rest are Returning Overseas Filipinos (3%) and through other transmissions (44%). As of September 15, 2020, BARMM has recorded eight (8) new Covid-19 cases, 215 active cases, 806 total cases, and 26 deaths. The new cases included five (5) from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, two (2) from Basilan, and one (1) from Tawi-Tawi. (BPI/PIA ICIC)

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Army engineers fast track construction of permanent shelters for IDPs

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) -- The 55th Engineer Brigade (EBde) of the Philippine Army is pushing for the completion of 50 permanent shelters for the internally displaced persons living in “no-build zones” inside the most affected area of the city. The 553rd and 551st engineer battalions under the said brigade are responsible for the construction of the permanent housing units in Barangay Kilala. LtCol. Elmer Oamil, deputy commander of the Joint Task Group Builders and commanding officer of 553rd Engineer Battalion, said  the army engineers initially constructed 11 housing units.  “Initially 11 units ang inumpisahan namin at ngayon 80 percent na. After macomply ang 11, we will again start 38 out of 50,” he said. [We initially constructed 11 units which are now 80 percent completed. After complying the 11, will again start 38 out of 50.] To recall, the Philippine Army through the 55th EBde inked a project partnership agreement with 12 homeowners associations (HOA) in the city for the site development and construction with funds from the Government of Japan through the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).  Oamil also shared that the rainy season and electricity interruption in the area cause delays in the construction. However, based on the assessment of the UN-HABITAT, the construction of the army is speedy.  The army official also reaffirmed their commitment to helping reconstruct and rebuild the city.  “Sa pangunguna ng aming brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando,  taos-puso naming ibibigay ang aming kakayanan para sa ikadadali sa rehabilitasyon ng Marawi City,” he said. [With the leadership of our brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando, we will lend our skills wholeheartedly to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi City.] The National Housing Authority and Task Force Bangon Marawi acquired the land used for the construction of shelter units. The construction of other housing units in Barangay Mipantao Gandongan is also ongoing.  (LELA/PIA ICIC)

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BTA approves creation of Bangsamoro Sports Commission

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 18 — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Sports Commission (BSC) Thursday, September 17, at the BTA Executive Lounge, in Cotabato City. Fifty-one (51) Members of the Parliament (MPs) voted online while two (2) members voted physically, all in favor of the passage of the said bill. It was done through nominal voting during the 42nd plenary session of its Second Regular Session via Zoom online teleconferencing.  None of the MPs voted against nor abstained from the approval of the said law.  The BSC will formulate policies, promote, regulate, coordinate, and implement programs for sports in the Bangsamoro region. Along with this mandate is to provide for the system, support, and assist in the development of sports.  “We can realize the essence of Bangsamoro as united people if we can establish among our youth the concept of teamwork. That's why we need the sports commission in the Bangsamoro Government,” MP Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong stated. The sports commission will be composed of a chairperson, four (4) commissioners, and two (2) ex-officio commissioners, equally represented from the geographic units of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and will be appointed by the Chief Minister. According to MP Eddie Alih, the creation of the BSC needs to display the inclusivity of the governance of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).  “We have to graduate from our perspective and outlook of being tribal to a people, the Bangsamoro, and this is in accord with our aspiration as a people,” Alih stressed. The Committee Bill No. 52, entitled “An act creating Bangsamoro Sports Commission, providing for its mandate, powers, and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes,” is authored by the members of the Committee on Rules.  Meanwhile, the creation of the BSC is under Section 20, Article IX of the Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law. To date, the BTA approved twelve (12) bills, including the creation of the Bangsamoro Attorney General’s Office (BAGO), Bangsamoro Women’s Commission (BWC), Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC), and the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC). (BPI/PIA-ICIC)

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PAMANA projects continue amid COVID-19 pandemic

September 22, 2020

ILIGAN CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) -- New projects to help conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities in the two Lanao provinces will be implemented even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “Ang sinabi ng mahal nating Presidente, kahit may COVID tayo, kailangan tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang PAMANA natin (our dear President said, even if we have COVID, our PAMANA should continue)," said Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. during the ceremonial signing of memorandums of agreement, Wednesday, September 16, for the implementation of PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) projects. Under the MOA, the provincial governments of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in partnership with the municipal governments of Munai, Tangcal, and Picong will implement projects worth Php 85 million to boost agricultural productivity in their localities.  These include the provision of farm equipment, concreting of farm-to-market roads, and construction of a barangay road. "Ang ating Presidente ay mahal na mahal niya ang Bangsamoro at hindi-hinding niya kayo pababayaan. At hanggang nandito ang OPAPP ay lalo naming palalakasin ang pag-agapay at pagmamahal namin sa BARMM (our President loves the Bangsamoro very much and he will never leave you. And as long as OPAPP is here, we will further strengthen our support and love for BARMM)," Galvez added. In January 2020, the General Appropriations Act for FY 2020 provided for a total of Php 650 million for the PAMANA Program. Under this, 10 projects will be implemented through the concerned respective Provincial Local Government Units and Municipal Local Government Units in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. GPH Peace Implementing Panel Chair and OPAPP Undersecretary David B. Diciano said PAMANA is a government program whose main purpose is to implement projects that will create opportunities to raise the standard of living of the people while enhancing peace in their communities.  "Simula noong 2011, patuloy ang PAMANA sa pagpapatupad ng mga proyekto sa mga isolated, hard to reach, conflict-affected, at conflict-vulnerable communities sa Mindanao kabilang na ang ilang lugar na nasa ilalim ng pamamahala ng MILF," he further said. (Since 2011, PAMANA has continued to implement projects in isolated, hard to reach, conflict-affected, and conflict-vulnerable communities in Mindanao including some areas under the management of the MILF.) Diciano noted that the farming equipment to be distributed under the MOA is seen to make planting and harvesting better and easier for the MILF since it will increase their yield and income. "At sa pag-aayos naman ng FMR at pagsasagawa ng barangay road construction projects, inaaasahan natin na mas mapapadali ang paglabas at pagpasok ng mga agrikulturang produkto sa mga komunidad na siyang magpapalakas ng ekonomiya," he added. (And with the repair of FMR and implementation of barangay road construction projects, we hope that the exit and entry of agricultural products into the communities will be made easier which will boost the economy.) According to Diciano, the water system that will also be built under the PAMANA program will provide a clean and adequate source of water for the people as water is important during this pandemic. Held at the 2nd Mechanized Brigade headquarter, the MOA signing was also attended by PAMANA National Director Cesar De Mesa; Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) Co-Chair Ariel Hernandez; OPAPP Assistant Secretaries Andres S. Aguinaldo, Jr. and Atty. Wilben M. Mayor; Lanao del Sur Board Member Abdulhamid Umpa Amerbito; Lanao del Norte Board Member Achmad Taha, Munai Mayor Rahma Andamama, Tangcal Councilor Abdani Buanding, BARMM Member of the Parliament Abdulla Macapaar, 1st Infantry Division commander Major General Generoso Ponio; 2nd Mechanized Brigade commander Brigadier General Facundo Palafo; and 103rd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Jose Maria Cuerpo. BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim also witnessed the signing via Google meet.  (APB/PIA-ICIC)

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Lanao del Norte leaders thankful for new PAMANA projects

September 22, 2020

ILIGAN CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) - Leaders in Lanao del Norte province conveyed their gratitude to the national government for the new projects that will be implemented under the FY 2020 PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) program. During the ceremonial signing of agreements for the implementation of PAMANA projects worth Php85 million, Munai mayor Racma Andamama thanked Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. for pushing the projects for her municipality saying it will have a tremendous impact on sustaining the gains of peace in Munai. "Alam po natin na ang Munai ay isa sa conflict-affected areas sa Mindanao at sa pamamagitan ng proyekto na inyong ibibigay sa amin, ito ang magiging daan para maibsan ang paghihirap ng mga tao at matulungan natin sila para umunlad ang buhay ng ating mga mamamayan sa Munai," she said. (We know that Munai is one of the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao and through the project that you will give us, it will become a way to alleviate the suffering of the people in Munai and help them improve their lives.)   Andamama also committed to monitor the projects and ensure its proper implementation. "Labis po ang aming pasasalamat at sana ito ang maging daan upang maging maunlad ang Munai," she added. (We are very grateful and we hope this will pave the way for Munai to prosper.) For the 2020 PAMANA program, Munai will get agricultural productivity support through the procurement of farm equipment amounting to Php5 million as well as concreting of the Tamparan to Pantaon market road going to Camp Bilal amounting to Php35 million.  Camp Bilal was considered as one of the major strongholds of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  Member of the Bangsamoro Parliament Abdullah  Macapaar, formerly known as Kumander Bravo of the MILF, said they have been waiting for these projects for so long. “Nagpapasalamat ako kay Allah dahil nandito na ngayon ang signing na mag-implement sa lahat ng mga development project dito sa Lanao del Sur at Lanao del Norte," he said. (I thank Allah because the signing for the implementation of all the development projects in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte is nowhere.) Tangcal Councilor Abdani Buanding, who represented Mayor Fatima Tomawis, also expressed the same appreciation for the PAMANA. “Alam po natin na ang aming bayan,  years ago ay dumaan po ng armed conflict, so masyadong kumbaga, kasama na kami sa medyo maliit na bayan, so kailangan po namin ang ganitong mga project. Sinisigurado namin na ang mga proyekto ay aalagaan namin," he said. (We know that our town, years ago, went through armed conflict, so in a way we belong to relatively small towns, so we need these projects. We will make sure that we will take care of the projects.) The municipality of Tangcal will also get agricultural productivity support through the procurement of farm equipment amounting to Php2 million. Lanao del Norte Board Member Achmad Taha, who represented Governor Imelda Angging Quibranza Dimaporo, also thanked the government. He said the MOA signing demonstrated the sincerity of the national government in their commitment to serve the people and help alleviate their lives.  "Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte continues to give importance to peace-promoting projects and staying true to his promise to the Filipino people," he added. Through the PAMANA, Taha said local government units are also empowered by leading the implementation of the projects in their localities. (APB/PIA-ICIC)

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DHSUD, TFBM chief welcomes more queries from CA members to settle issues

September 22, 2020

QUEZON CITY, Sep. 20 – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario on Sunday said he welcomes more queries from lawmakers during the resumption of deliberations for his ad interim appointment next week as an opportunity to clarify issues and address the disinformation being peddled by some interest groups. Secretary Del Rosario said he views the second round of Commission on Appointments deliberation as an opportunity to “finally clear the air” on several issues, particularly regarding his role as chairman of the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and the progress of the rehabilitation.   “I thank our lawmakers for giving me this opportunity to finally clear the air and focus on our pressing mandate of providing decent and affordable shelters and developing resilient and sustainable communities for the underprivileged and low-income Filipinos,” he also said.   Secretary Del Rosario added “with regards to Marawi, I reiterate that we will finish the rehabilitation of public infrastructures within the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. This is in compliance with the specific instruction of the President who said ‘I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again.’”     The TFBM chairman maintained that the massive rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City is on track, citing the ongoing full-blast reconstruction works on at least 10 infrastructure projects within the most affected area. Apart from this, social interventions like the provision of livelihood and financial assistance to the affected residents are continuing.    On the other hand, Secretary Del Rosario stressed that under the Duterte administration, government housing agencies have topped previous administrations’ annual production of housing units –building an average of more than 200,000 yearly from 2016 to 2019.   “We have started laying down the solid foundations for the future of the country’s housing sector through transparency and in close collaboration with our stakeholders, particularly the private sector,” the DHSUD chief said.   Last Wednesday, San Juan Rep. Ronnie Zamora, vice chairman of the CA, motioned to suspend Secretary Del Rosario’s confirmation, citing more members of the House of Representatives want to ask the DHSUD chief regarding “substantial issues.”   Senators Panfilo Lacson, Grace Poe and Ramon Revilla Jr. supported Zamora’s move.   Sen. Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, scheduled the next hearing next week. (DHSUD)

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